Monday, March 24, 2014

Let's Go to the Beach (Week 33)

Quote of the week:
"There will be lots of protesters at the open house. Do not engage in conversation with them."
"Can we punch them in the face?"
"Yes, punching is allowed."
"Maybe I'll dress up like a protester and then punch them in the face. 'I'm converted!'"

Tis true, the open house is coming. It actually starts this Saturday, and I am so excited it's crazy! We can only go through it when we have an investigator going with us, but that's easy for us because we live right by the temple. So we'll be going next week for the first time!! It's so cool to see how excited everyone here is about the temple. We have so many people on the streets just ask us about the temple and what it's for. It's one of our best tools as missionaries right now!

So we're going to the beach today. I'm pretty excited! It's going to be the best thing ever. Except it's a little cloudy, so hopefully it clears up. I'll take some good pictures though. We're not allowed on the actual beach, but we can take pictures from a safe distance:) We started knocking doors over by the beach a few days ago, but they were all snobby rich people who didn't want to listen to us.

Alright, so here's what happened with Leonard, who was supposed to be baptized yesterday. We'd talked to him on Saturdayand he was all set and super excited about getting baptized. Then Sunday came by and he didn't show up to church. We went to his house afterwards and he said that he'd prayed about it the night before, and after he'd had a vision where a voice told him that he didn't have enough faith yet. So...that's dumb. We're going to do all we can to get him baptized and get him the gift of the Holy Ghost this week though! We also have Rose still, the old haitian mamie! She's finally back from her trip that she unexpectedly took, and she's excited to be baptized. And we have a cool Haitian family who all came to church and loved it yesterday. The two kids want to get baptized, but the mum doesn't, though she's fine with the kids getting baptized. We're still trying to figure out if it will be better to just baptize the kids to set an example for the mum, or if we should wait and try to get the mum to accept baptism with the kids first.

This week we've given a large focus on trying to follow the spirit completely. It's getting a lot easier for me to follow the spirit in knowing which houses to knock on, but I usually get so caught up with trying to help the investigators during teaching that I sometimes forget about trying to follow the spirit, which is one of the most important times to be sensitive to its promptings. So I'm working on that. It's amazing how the spirit can guide us all the time though, not just in being guided to certain places. It can help us know what to read in the scriptures or who to talk to when walking down the street. I'll definitely be doing all i can to follow the spirit as much as I can the rest of my mission, and even when I get home. 

Well, I love you all muchly! Don't let the dryness of Utah kill you! 
Love, Elder Skidmore

Monday, March 17, 2014

Umm...(Week 32)

So here's the thing. I have like five minutes left because we have a meal appointment with a Haitian member really soon. So pray that I don't get food poisoning because from what I've heard, she's one of "those" Haitians who is totally fine just throwing fat and bugs together in her food. Oh gosh.

This week was really good. We found so many committal people, and we were able to get seven investigators at sacrament, which is incredible! So be expecting six baptisms this coming Sunday (one of the seven was some crazy guy that was just asking for money the whole time, but I guess there's still hope with him too:)) Rose is doing really well. She came to church again yesterday, but didn't feel ready for baptism, and we dont' want to push her too much because she can get a little emotional. I feel like this is her week though, so I'm excited! We also have an investigator from Barbados called Leonard. He's super cool!!! And he has a really fun accent. We went over to his house on Saturday to teach him, and he was really sick and said he wouldn't be able to be at church, so we taught about fasting and fasted with him until Sunday morning. And he came to church!!! Now he's preparing for baptism this Sunday!!! I'm so excited. The work truly is progressing, and the Lord is blessing us for our hard work. This work isn't easy at all, and there are still loads of discouraging days, but then there are days when blessings are brought in abundance and miracles are performed, and it's just so amazing.

Other than that, not a lot happened this week. I saw an alligator, which was pretty cool. Didn't have my camera on me next time:) Didn't get hit by a truck or bike into a bar, so that's good. haha, I love you all so much. Have a great week!

Monday, March 10, 2014

A Whole Lot of New (Week 31)

Oh man, oh man. So, the thing is, this whole mission thing is totes cray cray for realz. But really though, it's super crazy. You can never expect what's going to happen because nothing you expect to happen ever happens, and everything that you expect not to ever happens, happens. Tis true. Why do I say this? Well, let me give you a snippet of what happened at transfer meeting this week:

The read-off of new companions and new areas had already started. Left and right people were being assigned to their new lives for the next six weeks. There were lots of laughs as people were assigned to zone leader positions, and a few squeals of joy as sister missionaries were paired together. As I watched Elder Brockbrank be assigned as the newest zone leader and take his place with his new companion, I couldn't help but wonder what was in store for me. Obviously I'd mapped out all of the Creole Elders and who could possibly be joining me in Fort Lauderdale. However, when every Creole missionary was already assigned but Elder Claude, it seemed the unexpected would be happening and we would be paired together once again. Then, something even stranger happened.
"In Fort Lauderdale Creole area, Elder Skidmore and Elder Perkins."
Who the cheese is Elder Perkins, was the first thought that came to my head. True story. I'd never heard of an Elder Perkins before. As I scanned the room to try and find my newly called companion, I noticed that all of the Spanish elders were laughing and looking at one of the Elders in their group. Then a tall Elder stood up, walked over to me, and gave me a huge hug. Yup, his name was Elder Perkins.

This transfer is definitely going to be very different for me. Not only am I taking over the area of Fort Lauderdale Creole, but I also have a Spanish companion. The first few days were very stressful because I had to do all of the Creole lessons, and I was terrified of messing up and not having somebody to fall back on. However, on Saturday after praying for a very long time, I finally realized that I always have somebody to lean back on, and that's the Spirit. I don't speak Creole well at all, but when I have the Spirit I can speak almost fluently, and they understand the message and the Spirit that they feel. My companion, Elder Perkins is also always there for me. Just because he doesn't speak much Creole yet doesn't mean that he can't help out in lessons. Though I'm still pretty stressed about trying to teach all of these incredible Haitian people that the Lord has blessed us with, I know that I have my two companions who are always there to testify of truthfulness and help these amazing children of God to accept baptism. 

Plus, I get to stay here for the temple open house so heck yeah!!! I don't know if we'll be doing anything for it...but still! Lots of excitement going around because of the temple!

So I don't know if I talked about Rose yet, but I'm going to now because she be awesome. Rose is a 70 year old Haitian lady who we found a little over five weeks ago. In that time, she's already read the whole Book of Mormon, and she's stopped drinking tea and coffee too. She finally made it to church, and is preparing to be baptized this Sunday!!!! Heck yeah Ellis! Rose is one of the most elect people in the world. She just hasn't been able to come to church the last few weeks because her niece is really really sick and in the hospital, so they've all been going over there on weekends to stay with her. But now Rose is going to be baptized and it's going to be the best thing ever! 

I just remembered one of the funniest jokes ever. Or rather, should I call it an account? I rode my bike into a bar yesterday. Well, I was riding my bike and my face hit a horizontal bar. I was really confused, for it blended in with the road. Thankfully, there's no cosmetic effect. I just have a good story from it. It's fun, because I'm sure the Lord protected my beautiful face. It's one of his masterpieces after all. I kid, I kid!

Well, I've definitely grown a lot in my testimony of the necessity for the Spirit in teaching the gospel. Not only that but I've also realized that members are the best thing that ever happened to missionary work. We took a member out with us every day this week, and the lessons were so much more powerful. People were a lot more open too, which was really good. If you ever have a chance, you should go out with the missionaries. It be cray cray. Our ward here has so many funny and very interesting people in it too. I'd try to explain but I can't do it justice, so I'll just have to take you all here one day to introduce you.

Well, you all be awesome sauce and stuff. Please don't get killed by a meteor shower, because that would be the lamest thing ever. Which reminds me of a quote from Chad Stephens from this week. "You know what's the lamest, sir? When somebody's deheading your head, sir!" Gotta love Jamaican kids. Haha, I love you all. Have a great week!

Mwen renmen nou anpil anpil anpil!!!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Transfers (Week 30)

Quote of the Week:

"Man, I love you like a fat kid love cake." -Larry Andrews

Hello there fanmi mwen!
Sak Pase? Nou ap boule? Thought so. Well this week's been a lot more relaxed than last week. No angry black women getting into fights with tasers and bowling pins, so that's good I guess:) Khadijah and Rickia got confirmed on Sunday, which was amazing. The spirit was so strong. And we took Khadijah out teaching with us and she just threw down with her testimony of the restoration. She told us after that she can't wait to serve her mission in 4 years! She's definitely going to be one of the strongest members ever. Her younger sister Rickia is only 11, but we can start taking her out in April, which is excited.

So transfers are tomorrow. Oh man, stress for days! Elder Brockbank is transferring and I'm taking over the area. Too bad I've only been here a few weeks and don't know where anything is. This week is going to be super hard and stressful, but that's okay. I just want to baptize Haitian people. 

We've been teaching this really cool old Haitian mami named Rose Fatale. She's at least 70. We've taught her for the past 6 weeks, but she was never able to come to church. Well she finally made it this Sunday and is now super excited to be baptized this Sunday!! Larry Andrews, another guy we've been teaching forever but have to wait until my birthday until he can be baptized because he's on house arrest, brought his sister to church with him this Sunday and she wants to be baptized too. We still have to teach her everything though, so I don't think it will be this Sunday. I'm super excited though. The Lord's work continues to move on speedily. Our mission's working towards having 175 convert baptisms this month. That's a crazy big goal since we average about 120 a month, but I think we can do it! I'm excited to see what miracles march brings in the work.

So I read this on the other day and it's one of my favorite things ever. Thought I'd share it with y'all since I'm supposed to be an example or something strange like that;)

I went on exchanges in the English area and we knocked into this guy named Frank. He answered the door and said, "Oh, Joseph Smith was just here with his magical glasses. You know the Urim and Thummim." Oh gosh, that's always how the bashers here in Florida start. I was on exchanges with a new missionary too who had only been out for 5 weeks and was struggling a lot with confidence, so he doesn't really teach a lot yet. I was really worried for a second because I didn't want him to have a bad experience, but I decided to just go ahead with the approach. "Cool! Did you tell him I said hi. My name's Elder Skidmore and this is Elder Bortman. We're representatives of Jesus Christ, and he sent us to you today to leave a special blessing on your home." Well he immediately went off about how Joseph Smith was a liar and all that fun stuff, but instead of trying to bash back like a lot missionaries here do, I decided to try a different approach. "Sir, I know that Jesus Christ truly loves you, and wants you to know the truth. I can testify that he sent us to you today to leave this prayer and to invite his spirit into your home." He was taken back by this, because I guess he's used to people just arguing right back. He let us say the blessing, and right afterwards, he just said thanks and had us leave. He was crying though, and I know that the spirit really did touch him in that moment. It was a huge testimony builder to me of the power of the spirit and also the pure love that Jesus Christ and Heavenly Father have for each one of us. 

Anyway, that was my week, basically. I love you all so much! thanks for your constant emails and prayers. They really do help a lot! Love youuu!!!

Eldè Skidmore

Haitian lesson of the day:

Hello                  Bonjou
What's up?         Sak Pase?
I'm good             M'ap Boule  (literally means I'm burning)
See you later      N'a wè (pronounced nah way)
Have a good day    Pase yon bon joune (passay yon bon jounay)
 ^^Be jealous^^

Monday, February 24, 2014

Fights, Funerals, and Family Work (Week 29)

Quote of the Week: "So basically Taylor Swift is in the illuminati. Oh, and Nicki Minaj goes around breaking the law of chastity with penguins. This is what the world has come to." -Second Counselor in the Bishopric

Haha, so this week was pretty much fou nèt! True story. It was probably the most stressful week of my mission, but it had the best ending EVER! It would make a good story. Well, at least the first part.

So, let me paint you a picture. Not a boring picture like the Mona Lisa, but the funniest picture in the world. It's starts in the middle of Sistrunk Boulevard (Ghetto central). We're just chilling, teaching a lesson about the Restoration when suddenly, our investigator looks out the window. His eyes get huge, and he jumps out of his seat and runs into the kitchen. He comes back out with his camera and yells, "Oh, they finna fight!!"

We follow his outside, and all of the old women in the street are pouring out in the street, a group on each side. There's one lady that has a hand taser and is pointing it at another lady from the other side. All of these women in the street are just yelling things at each other and threatening to kill them. Haha, I was laughing pretty hard, but I probably shouldn't have. Some of them had brooms and buckets and things that they started throwing at the other group. There was even this really old lady that ran into her house and came back out with a couple of bowling pins that she threw at the lady holding the taser. I had no idea what to do, so we just ran to the car and drove off. We went back to the same house for another lesson two days later and it was like nothing happened. Haha, Florida be cray!

On a less comical note, we were asked to speak at a funeral this last Saturday. It was the brother of a member of the YSA ward, but he was Haitian, and all his family was Haitian. I gave a talk on the Plan of Salvation. I was pretty nervous before it to be honest, just because the chapel was full of crying Haitians who only spoke Creole and I really wanted it to be a spiritual experience for them, especially since none of the were members. The talk went really well though. I talked about how there is life after death and God is merciful and has given us the chance to come closer to Him even after this life. Lots of amens were yelled out during the talk. It was weird being at a funeral though. I think it was the first one I've been to (at least that I remember) and it was weird just watching all of these people who thought they'd never see Akeem again. He was shot in a drug deal and was only 23 years old, so it was really hard for them. It made me really glad for the knowledge that we have though!

Alright, now to the best (and most stressful) weekend ever. So we have been working with these two girls named Khadijah and Rickia Anderson, who are 15 and 11. They said they'd be baptized on Sunday, but we stopped by their house Sunday morning to make sure they were coming to church, and their grandma answered and said they'd gone to their mum's church that day. Heart=broken. So we went to church and had a few investigators show up, so it was all good. Then, right after sacrament, I saw Khadijah walking out of the chapel and I was like, oh, gade fil sa! So we ran over to her and apparently her and her sister were both there for all of sacrament but we just hadn't seen them. They commited to be baptized that night so that their whole family could be there. We went over to their house again that night at 6 to make sure they'd be there at 7, and they weren't there. We called all the numbers we could but nobody answered. So we just went to the church and basically prayed for days that they'd make it there. Miraculously, after everyone had waited at the church until 8 and were about to go home, they showed up. Apparently their mum had be asleep and they didn't want to wake her, but she woke up and they had made it. And then THEY GOT BAPTIZED! And it was the most spiritual baptism I've ever witnessed. Every person there was crying. And Khadijah asked if she could bear her testimony after and talked about how she wants to serve a mission in a few years so she can help other people feel the same way she did then. It was so amazing. These two girls are so incredible, and they're setting a great example for their mum and her boyfriend! We're going to be working with the rest of their family these next few weeks, so we'll see how that goes. But these two girl's lives have been changed forever and I'm so happy that I was blessed with the chance to not only witness this miracle but play a part in it and feel of the sweet spirit that was there.

So that was my week. Pretty crazy, but worth it! I love this work so much, and I love all of you! You be da bestest! Also, here a picture of a minion, for Ruth's birthday! Happy birthday my little minion. Have an amazing week!
Our temple drawing on the window ^^
 Us being classy and giving the sisters some pudding with roast beef for valentine's day ^^

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

And he be like, yo! (Week 28)

Quotes of the week (They're all from the same recent convert)

"And Moses was like, 'yo!' Well...not yo, but, 'get on da boat!"
"California's a spiritual portal."
"I don't know if they were real dragons, but they were dragons! And they destroyed all of the planes except mine."
"The tree was walking and was killing da peoples. And there were bones on da floor! And I think the tree was President Bush!!"

Haha, yup. People here be cray. But hello family dearest. This week was a pretty normal week, normal being a relative term. Nothing super crazy happened, and I definitely didn't get hit by a truck so that's good. 

This week we've been working a lot with the son of a member in the ward. He be huge! He's like this 40 year old, 300 pound black man who's on house arrest for something crazy. The first time we went over there, right after we introduced ourselves he just flat out told us that he wants to be baptized. Since then we've taught him every lesson, and he's been eating it up. The spirit is always so strong in his lessons because we've been focusing a lot more on bearing testimony and promising blessings with him. When we taught the Law of Chastity he voiced his worries because it's hard for him to keep. But after we bore sincere testimony that it is a commandment of God to keep us safe and protect families, he looked at us for a second, then said, "On my own, there's no way I can keep that commandment...But with God I know that anything's possible. So with God's help I will keep it." I felt the spirit stronger in that situation than ever before. It was absolutely amazing, and such a testimony builder to me to see this huge guy who's on house arrest and had a drinking problem completely change his life around to follow God. And he's preparing for baptism this Sunday!!! The whole house arrest thing may be a problem, but we'll see what happens. I'm still excited for him:)

We also followed up on a referral that Bishop Brown gave us. It's this 15 year old girl named Khadijah who apparently has come to church 3 times already and Bishop Brown has taught her almost everything. We went and prayed with her and her family, and she wants to be baptized this Sunday with her sister, who has also come to church a few times. So that's sort of awesome! Their mum and her boyfriend be cray though, and their neighbors keep whispering to each other about getting rid of us because we park on their street and awkwardly wait in the car when Elder Brockbank has problems with his diabetes, and they think that we be creepin'.

We met this guy on the street named Chris this week. When we asked him what we could pray for, he told us his whole story of how he moved here with his dad from Georgia, but his dad died and now he's homeless and jobless. And his finger was all cut up and gross from trying to do odd jobs for people. Twas super sad. I wish there were more we could do for him...And my comps been pretty sad this week because his diabetes has been giving him a hard time, and when his blood sugar's not in a good range we have to wait in the car until it's good again, which sometimes takes an hour or two. It really stresses him out. I've been working so hard on loving and comforting others recently.

 I have been studying a lot recently about showing love to others. It says in True to the Faith that you show love to others by comforting them, mourning with them, serving them, sharing the gospel with them, and being their friend. I am honestly thrilled when I have opportunities to do these things, but I've been working on actually going and seeking out opportunities to serve and show my love for others instead of just taking opportunities as they come. Our loving Heavenly Father shows us so much love and even loved us enough to send His only Begotten Son to help make the pathway back to live with Him so much easier. I want to pay Him back as best I can.

But yeah, that's pretty much my week. I love you all! Hope you have a great week. You be da bestest eva!

Love, Elder Skidmore

p.s. Temple open house here starts in like 4 weeks!!! #guesswhogetstousher
p.p.s. Found a string of English stores here with English chocolates
Oh, and here's a picture of the top four zones in our mission! The guy to my left is my current comp, Elder Brockbank

Monday, February 10, 2014

No Subject (Week 27)

I decided to start off each email with a quote from the week, just so you guys can understand what the ghetto people here are like.

"What da ring be fo? You two married or somethin'?"
"No man, it's a CTR ring. It means I'm married to Jesus!"
"Wha-! Jesus ain't gay!"

True story, he's not. And apparently Shandra knows that now too. Haha, Fort Lauderdale is a lot different that I had expected. We've been working in more ghetto areas a lot recently and it's been...interesting. The sister missionaries in our area were looking for a recent convert a couple of days ago, but suddenly felt like they had to leave right then. When they started driving away, a bunch of cop cars went shooting past them at stopped right at the house they were about to knock. They found out later on that a body was found there...yup, strange things afoot in Fort Lauderdale. But that's okay, it keeps things more fun, right:)

Elder Brockbank, my companion, is the district leader, so we go on two exchanges every week. I was in a spanish area and an english area this last week and it was super weird. The spanish area was basically just me sitting there all day not saying anything but "no hablo espanol". The English area was basically just me fearing for my life as we biked through streets with gang fights happening and with couples yelling at each other. Let's just say I'm very thankful to be working with Haitians. They're not nearly as crazy. 

We've been working with somebody called Mei this week. He just showed up randomly at church last week, so we went over to his house and he said he'd prepare to be baptized!! And he came to church again yesterday with his 6 year old son. His wife works on Sundays but she's trying to get that off, and they have family prayers together every night now! And they're going to a family home evening with some Haitian members in the ward, which is going to be awesome!! He's working towards being baptized this Saturday so his wife will be there. So pray for Mei!!

Interesting story time! So we were harvesting on Friday and came across this lady named Regina. She let us pray with her, and when we finished she was sobbing and said a definite yes to baptism and to church. We tried to follow up with her on Saturday but she wasn't come. We called her and sent her a message Sunday morning to remind her about church, but she didn't answer and didn't come. That night, we were over in that area, so we went and knocked on her door, but still no answer. That night she gave us a call and said that we need to stop calling and texting because she wasn't interested. It was a little weird, but it has happened before so we didn't think too much of it. But this morning we woke up and had another voicemail from her. It was her husband. I'll just quote it because it's more fun. "Y'all need to stop creepin' on my wife. Don't call, don't text, don't nothin'. If I ever see you knockin' on our door again, imma hurt ya...bad!" Yup. I guess it's hard to blame them because it might have seemed a little creepy, but still. Lighten up folks, we're just trying to save your souls!

Other than that fun experience, though, we've just been finding lots of super cool people. I feel really good about this area. It's different because we don't really have a lot of people to teach, so we're constantly needing to find new people to teach the next day, which we weren't very good at in Coconut Creek because we always had a ton of people. I kind of like this though because it's a lot more focused on each person. There's a lot of funny people here in the Fort Lauderdale ward. There's a guy that was pronounced dead, but woke up in the morgue a couple of days later and joined the church. Testimony meetings are always fun because it's just a bunch of skreet people that go up and talk about the crazy experiences they had that week, and then they say a scripture that they've read and go sit down. haha, it's just a very different place from Utah, at least where I'm working. 

Alright, that's about it from me. I love you all and hope you don't get eaten by bed bugs (because they are real and are really annoying). Love you!!!
Elder Skidmore

Oh yeah, almost forgot. I was reading a talk this morning by President Uchtdorf from the May 2013 ensign (I think) but it talked about the light of Christ being available to all at every point in our lives if we just do three things: 1. Start searching for it 2. Pray and ask for His light, and 3. Act on the promptings received. Or something like that. I don't know, its' written down in my study journal. But I just thought I'd share it because I've found recently that if you sincerely pray for joy and the spirit each morning, it will be there. But even if it is there, it will leave if you don't follow the promptings that you receive or if you're not focused on what you're supposed to be doing.